This Autumn, our iRide instructors in Chase, BC, facilitated a 6-week program for iRide skill levels 4-5 using local Shuswap trails. Each instructor took turns using the iRide instructor tools to craft a daily lesson plan. Each session introduced a new skill using an open, flat area, followed by a game and a trail ride.
Since we graduated from our spring field-based program and ventured into local trail networks, we followed the iRide adult-to-child ratio guidelines. We increased the number of instructors in each group. Using the 1:6 ratio, with three instructors and a maximum of 18 riders, we produced incredible results. The children benefited from lots of attention and the instructors learned to work together to create a safe environment. Two of the children had complex learning needs and were new to mountain biking. Both of those children were able to keep up with the group the majority of the time and when they needed to fall back, there was an opportunity to break off into a smaller focus group.
By the end of the program, all children had improved in significant ways. A particular learning area that occurred was in learning to enjoy all aspects of the sport, including climbing. The kids were so proud and exhilarated after improving their gearing skills to the point that they could succeed at challenging inclines without having to dismount.
The Autumn program was full of successes and learning for the instructors. For example, the first trails at Mt. Tuam were too advanced for a few kids. Next time, it would be best to begin the program at a milder area like the Wade Road Trails. Also, while we had a fun celebratory final session at Wade Road, it would have had a more significant impact to go somewhere like the Bike Ranch that showed the kids how far they had come from the first session.
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